Friday, June 13, 2014

Building Hotel Brand Loyalty - The Luxury Traveler

The number of wealthy people in the world is steadily on the rise, despite a global economy, which has yet to fully recover from the recession of 2008-09. According to figures from UBS and Wealth-X, in September the number of people with assets of at least $30 million had risen by 6 percent over the previous year. The affluent have more money to spend and they are increasing spending on luxury travel. A recent study by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) found that 62 percent of luxury travelers report they plan on spending more on their travels.

The luxury travel market is looking for much more than beautifully extravagant accommodations from any hotel at which they might stay. Today’s affluent traveler values experience over extravagance. Additionally, the luxury traveler has an expectation of highly personalized service during their stay and continued brand connection through social media after the stay.



Exclusive Experience

Discounts and traditional loyalty programs are not effective motivators for the affluent traveler. Discounted accommodations promise little to a traveler that has the means to bear any expense. What the wealthy are seeking during their vacation time is personal experiences that are truly unique and one-of-a-kind. Hotel stays for the luxury traveler now need to offer exclusive events, adventurous day-trips, and exceptional encounters which take them outside their everyday life experience. The luxury traveler expects extravagant suites, but providing memorable experiences will set apart the hotel in their mind.


Personalized Service

Small, personal touches can make all the difference in the world to the luxury traveler. The little things can include in-room amenities being of top shelf quality and replenished without a word, to the unexpected bottle of the house finest that arrives at the perfect time, or even just a greeting by name. This requires hotel staff that are truly engaged and interested in the guest’s experience.


Social Media Interaction

The engagement of hotel staff with their guests doesn’t end when the guest goes back home or when they are off property during their stay. Today’s luxury traveler has full expectations of their hotels having a robust social media presence. The personalized experience and service is expected to translate into the online realm as well. Brands that understand and are actually accommodating this expectation provide their guests with mobile devices and apps, and in some cases laptops to cater to the needs of their guests during their stay. When the guests leave, the hotel needs to continue the personal interaction and the encouragement of positive feedback.

With the numbers of affluent travelers steadily growing, it is imperative for every upscale hotel to gain their share of the luxury travel market growth. By indulging the desire for true experience found in today’s luxury traveler, hotel brands can separate themselves from the competition and be set apart as truly superior and exceptional hoteliers.

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